The entire Kreydle website was built using the Salient theme, and although my web design skills are basic to say the least, I managed to pull off a stunning design that draws new interns and job applicants every month.

Salient is one of the most popular themes for WordPress, sold exclusively on the ThemeForest marketplace.

At the time of writing, it has over 39,976 sales at the price of $59. That means sales in access of $2.3 million dollars for ThemeNectar, the creators of the theme.

It also has over 3,000 ratings, with an active & helpful support chat on ThemeForest.

Salient is a “multi-purpose” WordPress theme, which means it can be any type of website you want, including an e-commerce store, by integrating the WooCommerce plugin.


 

Salient Review:  The Positives

Most Flexible Page Builder

The thing that caught my attention is the amazing design possibilities with the Salient theme. You can literally create any type of page you want, using the “drag-and-drop” page builder called ” Visual Composer. This is a plugin developed by another company, WPBakery, and it is licensed to other theme developers as well.

Visual Composer Interface

Visual Composer is scary at first, but when you get the hang of it, you’ll find that the epossibilities are endless.

Want nested rows or columns? No problem. Want a full-width background divided into 4 equal columns, each with a different background image and transition effect? No problem.

Visual Composer Options

There’s nothing that Salient (or rather, Visual Composer) cannot do; as long as you know which button does what. (I’ll get to that later)

Visual Composer Page Template

The ability to save your current page as a template is also useful, but what’s missing is the ability to save only certain rows or columns as a template. The Divi theme does this cleverly.

Visual Composer Custom CSS

You can add custom CSS right into the row, column or element you’re working with. This is great for minor CSS tweaks.

I only discovered Visual Composer after I bought the theme. Initially, Salient used a highly modified version of Visual Composer that was a part of the theme. With recent updates however, it’s a separate plugin that you have to activate in the WordPress plugins page.

(That of course means that you can use Visual Composer even if you deactivate the Salient theme itself.)

Nectar Elements

It’s unfair to say that the Salient theme’s biggest attraction is Visual Composer, since VS is just a tool to control your layout – rows, columns, padding etc.

Salient comes with much more.

Nectar Elements, a collection of useful and functional widget and effects,  is baked into the custom version of Visual Composer.

Nectar Elements

Some elements are the default in Visual Composer. Others are custom while a few are heavily modified. It’s hard to say how much the default modules have been improved in Salient.

Most of the modules work great, although you typically get one style for each module.

Support & Documentation

A few months ago, I had an issue with Salient theme where all my FontAwesome icons failed to load on every single page. After days of trying to troubleshoot myself, I contacted the Salient support on ThemeForest and was told to email them with screenshots and other information.

I did that, and forgot about my email altogether.

A few days later, I received a response that my problem has been solved. The Salient support team deactivated every single plugin on my site and turned them on one by one, eventually finding a plugin that caused the conflict.

The amount of time spent on this issue was huge, and I truly appreciate them going the extra mile!

Documentation is good, really good. In fact the documentation is built into the theme itself, and you can find official video tutorials as well from the ThemeNectar YouTube Channel.

No complaints here. If you’ve never used an advanced WordPress theme though, you’ll be completely lost. But that would be your fault 🙂


 

Salient Review: The Negatives

Of course, this review would not be complete if I left out the dirty, ugly parts 🙂

Confusing (ridiculous) Pricing

salient pricingAt the time of writing, the Salient theme is priced at $59 for a Regular License and $2,950 for an Extended License. 

An Extended License is not the same as a Developer License, which is what most WordPress users look for if they want to use the theme on multiple sites, including sites built by their clients.

The Extended License clearly states:

“Use, by you or one client, in a single end product which end users can be charged for.”

One user? What the fuck? 

So I wanted to use the Salient WordPress theme for 10 clients, I have to pay $29,500? Seriously?

Which agency would pay that kind of money? I could develop my own WordPress theme framework for less.

Keep in mind that I am just buying the theme, not the design service!

ThemeForest seems to change it’s licensing terms and jargon quite frequently. Reading through the licensing documentation can be frustrating, and my email to them about multiple-site licenses were poorly answered.

There seems to be no way to get a Developer License. If you want to stay honest, you’ll need to get one license for each website. There seems to be no way to upgrade your license either.

Additional Support Pricing

Recently, ThemeForest also introduced separate pricing for support. By default, when you buy the Salient theme you get six months of support included. Then, you have to renew support for a 12-month period.

Lot of people are going to hate this, but I feel that this price is justified to keep the Salient theme updated with constant tweaks, improvements and bug fixing.

I think additional pricing for extended support is in line with other themes and plugins, and will help the Salient theme stay on the market for a longer period of time.

Complexity & Lag

What I really hate about the Salient theme is the noticeable lag and difficulty in getting things done. This is caused by bloat – having to live with things that you will never need, but cannot get rid of.

Salient is branded as a “multi=purpose” theme; which means it can be anything; but you really only need it to be ONE thing. Once you’ve figured out what the one thing and one style is, everything else that is baked into the theme is just getting in your way.

For example, the Salient theme has 600+ available fonts – but you’ll really only need two or three. There are three different icons sets you can use, but most people will only use one. Two different slider types, but again, you only need one that works really well.

Everything you do not needs cannot be deactivated, and is loaded every time your website loads.

If you’re crazy about SEO, you’ll know that page speed is just as important as anything else. With each update Salient has been optimizing its code to be smoother and faster, I give them credit for that, but when you’re writing content or trying to create a page you’ll find that you work slower because of Salient’s bloat.

Too Many Clicks & Warning Messages

The most recent update of Visual Composer is awesome, and solves all the old usability. However, my main issue with Visual Composer is that it’s too rigid with too many pop-up messages.

“Are you sure you want to close this?”

This means that for every thing I do, I will need to click at least 3-8 times before I can edit the module or content. This adds up quickly and slows down your work. Most of these pop-up messages are totally redundant and can be removed.

Or, there should be an option to turn off the warning pop ups.

For comparison, the Divi theme for WordPress uses their own “Divi Builder” drag-and-drop interface that has almost no annoying pop ups, making it so much easier to use.

Steep Learning Curve

The other thing I don’t like about the Salient theme is the huge learning curve. This again is related to it’s “multi-purpose theme” status. Lots of things you don’t need to learn that get in the way of what you’re looking for. As a result, you’ll have to learn everything to figure out how to get what you want.

That sucks, but then again, there’s a learning curve for everything. If you’re already using Visual Composer then things may be a bit easier, as the chunk of learning you’ll do is related to it.

Should You Get Salient for Your Website?

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When we asked our interns “Why did you apply for an internship at Kreydle?”, one of the most common answers was the stunning design of our internship page.  Interns assumed that a company with such an awesome website would be a cool place to work (and they are right!).

There’s no way we could have designed a page like that without the Salient theme.

If design is your mantra; then it would be worth your money to buy the Salient WordPress theme. It will pay for itself many times over and help you stand out of the crowd.

But like all themes, you still need a good sense of taste to achieve spectacular designs with Salient. Plus, there’s a learning curve. So it’s not easy, but Salient make it possible. Refinements will be made over time to address the lag and speed problem.

I highly recommend Salient for all types of websites.